Happy Feast Day Everyone! I write this from the Eternal City where I am presently looking after the examinations at the Pontifical Beda College. It is a beautiful day here but I haven't been out yet... I am about to go over to St Paul's (see earlier post) but before I do I would like to share two things. One is the ancient Latin hymn, 'Veni Sancte Spiritus', which has meant so much to me over the years. The other is a piece from one of our recent graduates, Junior Lynch. Junior wrote his dissertation on psychosis and spirituality ( I discussed it in an earlier post) and asked if I could post some of his reflections here. I do so with great pleasure... and am always happy to post contributions.
Best for now
- Veni, Sancte Spiritus,
Et emitte cœlitus
Lucis tuæ radium.
Veni pater pauperum,
Veni dator munerum,
Veni lumen cordium.
- Consolator optime,
Dulcis hospes animæ,
In labore requies,
In æstu temperies,
In fletu solatium.
- O lux beatissima,
Reple cordis intima
Sine two numine,
Nihil est in homine,
Nihil est innoxium.
- Lava quod est sordidum,
Riga quod est aridum,
Sana quod est saucium,
Flecte quod est rigidum,
Fove quod est frigidum
Rege quod est devium.
- Da tuis fidelibus,
In te confidentibus,
Da virtutis meritum,
Da salutis exitum,
Da perenne gaudium.
- Holy Spirit, come and shine
On our souls with beams divine,
Issuing from Thy radiance bright.
Come, O Father of the poor,
Ever bounteous of Thy store,
Come, our heart’s unfailing light.
- Come, Consoler, kindest, best,
Come, our bosom’s dearest guest,
Sweet refreshment, sweet repose.
Rest in labor, coolness sweet,
Tempering the burning heat,
Truest comfort of our woes.
- O divinest light, impart
Unto every faithful heart
Plenteous streams from love’s bright flood.
But for Thy blest Deity,
Nothing pure in man could be;
Nothing harmless, nothing good.
- Wash away each sinful stain;
Gently shed Thy gracious rain
On the dry and fruitless soul.
Heal each wound and bend each will,
Warm our hearts benumbed and chill,
All our wayward steps control.
- Unto all Thy faithful just,
Who in Thee confide and trust,
Deign the sevenfold gift to send.
Grant us virtue’s blest increase,
Grant a death of hope and peace,
Grant the joys that never end
Good day to you all,
Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Junior Lynch. I am a twenty-two year old graduate from St Mary’s University, Twickenham. During my time as a ‘Simmarian’ I was fortunate enough to work under the stewardship of some truly great scholars, though it was Peter who encouraged me to embrace all things ‘liminal’. This is a term which shall forever remain within my vocabulary! I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to write for Insoulpursuit. Without further ado, I shall proceed to tell you of an experience I had just a few days ago. It was a moment which could either be something or nothing. Though, akin to many aspects of my life, I like to think of it as conceptual. I felt that I had witnessed a flicker between the calm and the storm; it urged me to contemplate the intricacies of my mind. This, an exercise I have not partaken in often or perhaps at all, since childhood. I was recently in my hometown of
Swindon you see. My hometown, in all its splendour,
provides the backdrop for this tiny tale with a taller moral.
My eyes have become transfixed upon the mellow haze lingering betwixt dusk and dark. The poppy fields in the near distance intermingle with the impending horizon, creating a blood red stain which slowly purges the remaining light. The ominous rain clouds which ran rife throughout the day have now parted, perhaps only for a moment, though the respite from the storm is embraced all the same. A hint of jasmine hovers flirtatiously in the air, before it is lost in the breeze. The flutter of a rook threatens to disturb the calm, yet, it only serves to heighten the serenity. A red crested beam sweeps through the trees, casting a shadow that looms heavily upon the grass upon which I lay. My mind begins to conjure thoughts of childhood, only slowly at first, like a seasoned dairy farmer churning the last batch of butter for the summer harvest; the memories become thicker, and substantial in clarity.
The mind perseveres, and enters a labyrinth full of memories, beginning with my fourth birthday and ending with a recollection of my Grandfather collecting me from school. The blissful naivety of my younger days warms me ever so slightly, before the slowly cooling breeze threatens to awaken me from this dreamy state. Nevertheless, the tomb which has kept these memories captive for so long, has been opened. Floods of fears, emotions, and troubles of the past resurrect, and are quickly extinguished when I realise they are no longer relevant. The beauty of the sunset leaves me incredulous, when i spend a moment to revel in the glory of it all that is.
Thus far, my life experiences have been positive, in the grand scheme of things. Although, i am often left feeling regretful at thinking of the ‘what if’s’ in my life. However, i am regretful in the sense that i shouldn't be thinking of the ‘what if’s’ at all. In fact, rather than dwelling on why i was deprived of certain opportunities, or why i narrowly missed out on something, i look at the consequential positives that have arisen from these setbacks. In reality, this adequately explains my relationship with God. I have never doubted God’s existence, only his intentions. I often feel as though my faith is tested through varying means, and as the sun sets upon one aspiration, another arises at dawn. Naturally, there have been times in my life, where everything seems eclipsed by darkness. However, a sliver of light has always remained, just enough to regain faith and move on to more prosperous fields. For others, the light is further away and it is a constant struggle to keep it in sight long enough to reach it. On this evening, my surroundings are perfectly attuned to my state of mind. This I find is a rare thing. As the light dims, and the poppy fields become nothing more than an ashen canvas, i have no fear. For i know the sun shall rise tomorrow, and so shall I.
The brief enlightenment encountered last night, provided a minor respite from what has been a fairly turbulent few weeks. However, that moment spent on the lawn reflecting upon the purity and magnificence of the retreating sunset, afforded me with ample time to reassess a few life choices. The innate nature of light and dark struck me with childlike awe, and I briefly regressed to a time, when I did not take the work of God for granted. I reflected upon the questions that I used to ask as a young boy, about the infinite wonders of the universe. I was once consumed by the complexity of God’s work, though, this has now been exchanged for worries concerning rental payments, weekly food budgets, and how to assert myself in the working world. Alas, i am not sure when this transference of interests occurred, and to pinpoint it, would be futile. Moreover, I have been to the spiritual home of the Catholic church, i have been blessed by the Pope emeritus, and i have been near to death in my life.
Last night was different.
Last night, nothing happened really. I have looked upon the sunset for many a year, and have bathed in it’s glow. Yet, something was different last night. Perhaps it was purely conceptual. In that moment, it was a loving embrace from God. This evening, the sunset will be nothing more than light shifting from dark.
I hope that you all find your own sunset, and can find a little light regardless of your situation. In the meanwhile, i shall leave you with a beautiful verse from a truly lovely hymn entitled ‘I am weary, let me rest’, written by Pete Kuykendall. It is also performed in one of my favourite films of all time; O Brother Where art thou?
‘Seems the light is swiftly fading
Brighter scenes they do now show
I am standing by the river
Angels wait to take me home’
Best wishes, Junior.